• With water levels normalising in Q1 2019 and in Q2 2019, inland vessels once again reached higher loading degrees, which in turn had a strong effect on transport prices: transport prices fell, especially on the spot market for deliveries from the ARA region to destinations in the Rhine hinterland (Germany, France, Switzerland).
• Due to falling transport prices in Q1 2019, official statistics on the turnover in IWW goods transport in the Netherlands and in Germany show that turnover decreased in both countries. In Q2 2019, turnover continued to decrease in Germany, while it increased again in the Netherlands.

 

WATER LEVELS AND VESSELS’LOADING DEGREES IN THE RHINE BASIN

 

 
 
 

FIGURE 1: MAXIMUM LOADING DEGREE OF VESSELS WITH A DRAUGHT OF 3 M AT GAUGING STATIONS ALONG THE RHINE (%)

Source: CCNR calculation based on data provided by the Federal German Office of Hydraulicity

 

  • At the beginning of the year 2019, water levels on the Rhine normalised, allowing inland vessels to reach rather high loading degree values again. The two gauging stations of Kaub and Oestrich at the Middle Rhine showed slightly more difficult navigation conditions than Maxau on the Upper Rhine and Duisburg on the Lower Rhine.
  • The correlation between water levels and goods transport on the Rhine remained intact, as shown by the fact that the rising water levels in Q1 2019 were followed by an increase in goods transport.

 

FIGURE 2: QUARTERLY GOODS TRANSPORT ON THE RHINE AND VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES AT KAUB/RHINE

Source: Destatis and CCNR Calculation based on data provided by the Federal German Office of Hydraulicity


 

WATER LEVELS AND VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES IN THE DANUBE BASIN

 
 
 

FIGURE 3 : MAXIMUM LOADING DEGREE OF VESSELS WITH A DRAUGHT OF 3 M AT GAUGING STATIONS ALONG THE DANUBE (IN %)

Source: CCNR calculation based on hydrological data provided by the Federal German Office of Hydraulicity, and the Federal State of Lower Austria

  • Within the Danube basin, the differences in hydraulicity conditions between the Austrian and the German Danube remained intact in 2019. While navigating conditions were recovering quickly in Kienstock and Wildungsmauer, both located in Lower Austria, they continued to be quite volatile and less favourable on the German Danube in Lower Bavaria.

 

FIGURE 4 : QUARTERLY GOODS TRANSPORT IN AUSTRIA AND VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES IN WILDUNGSMAUER, LOWER AUSTRIA

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave] and CCNR calculation based on hydrological data from the Federal State of Lower Austria


 

FREIGHT RATES IN THE RHINE BASIN

FIGURE 5 : CBS FREIGHT RATE INDEX FOR INLAND NAVIGATION IN THE NETHERLANDS

Source: CBS (Netherlands)

 

  • The CBS conducts regular surveys among 80 Dutch IWW companies, eight times per year. The revenue of a company determines the influence it has on the price index. According to this index, dry bulk sport market freight rates fell in the first half of 2019, more or less in parallel with normalising water levels on the Rhine.
  • The liquid bulk prices of the CBS index cover freight traffic on the Rhine, but also shorter trips within the ARA area (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) and other locations within the Netherlands. It contains spot market rates as well as (long-term) contract rates, and the delivery of all types of liquid bulk (chemicals, diesel, fuel oil, methanol, naphta, sunflower oil, etc).
  • Another freight rate index is the liquid bulk PJK index (PJK International / Insight Global is a market research company in Breda, the Netherlands, specialised in the liquid cargo sector), which is a spot market index based on the transport of oil products from the ARA region via the Rhine to destinations in Germany, France and Switzerland. Its spot market and its ARA-Rhine trade character make it quite volatile.
  • Within the PJK index, freight rates fell strongly in December 2018 and at the beginning of the year 2019 and settled at a lower level in Q1 and Q2 2019. However, as is the case for the CBS liquid bulk index part, the price level did not fall back completely.

 

FIGURE 6: PJK FREIGHT RATE INDEX FOR LIQUID CARGO (GASOIL) FROM THE ARA REGION TO DESTINATIONS ALONG THE RHINE – COMPARED WITH VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES AT MAXAU/UPPER RHINE

Source: CCNR calculation based on PJK International
*The freight rate index was calculated on the basis of the price per tonne of liquid cargo transport. Index values show the price in a given month in relation to the average price in the year 2015.



 

  • A detailed look at the PJK index (per destination along the Rhine) reveals that the Swiss destination (Basel) showed by far the strongest price increase during the low water period in late 2018. In 2019, however, the freight rate level for deliveries to Basel fell very strongly. When water levels normalised, the reduction of the freight rate level for deliveries to lower Rhine destinations (Duisburg, Cologne) and to Ruhr destinations (Dortmund) was relatively inferior than for Basel.

 

FIGURE 7: PJK FREIGHT RATE INDEX FOR LIQUID CARGO (GASOIL) FROM THE ARA REGION TO DESTINATIONS ALONG THE RHINE – INDEX VALUES PER DESTINATION

Source: CCNR calculation based on PJK International

 

QUARTERLY IWT TURNOVER EVOLUTION PER COUNTRY IN EUROPE

Quarterly data on turnover in IWT are at present only available for very few countries, due to statistical limitations. EUROSTAT presents data for the NACE sector H50 (water transport) which covers maritime and IWT transport together. Based on this dataset, it is possible to identify turnover in IWT only for countries with almost no activity in maritime shipping. For France, Germany and the Netherlands, quarterly turnover data are provided by the national statistical offices (INSEE, Destatis, CBS).

FIGURE 8: TURNOVER DEVELOPMENT IN THE NETHERLANDS AND IN GERMANY – MAINLY GOODS TRANSPORT* (2015=100)

Source: CBS, Destatis
*For the Netherlands, the series contains turnover from total IWT, but goods transport has a very high share of 92 %; for Germany, the series contains only turnover from goods transport.

 

  • Both in the Netherlands and in Germany, turnover from freight transport reached a certain peak in the fourth quarter of 2018. This was a consequence of very high freight rates due to the low water period, notably on the Rhine. With prices decreasing in the first half year 2019, turnover normalised in Germany, while it remained rather high in the Netherlands, reflecting a more positive transport demand evolution in the Netherlands than in Germany.
  • Turnover of Austrian, French and German passenger shipping companies showed the usual seasonal variations. In Q2 2019, turnover of French passenger transport companies was 8 % higher than in Q2 2018, and 16 % higher than in Q2 2017.
  • For German passenger transport companies, the result in Q2 2019 was 1 % lower than the previous year, but 4 % higher than in Q2 2017. The turnover of Austrian IWW companies, the majority of which are linked to passenger transport, was 13 % higher in Q2 2019 than the previous year and 6 % higher than in Q2 2017.

 

FIGURE 9: TURNOVER DEVELOPMENT IN AUSTRIA, FRANCE AND GERMANY – MAINLY PASSENGER TRANSPORT*(2015=100)

Source: Eurostat [sts_setu_q] for Austria, Destatis for Germany and INSEE for France
* For Austria, the series contain turnover from total IWT, but the sector activity is dominated by passenger transport; for Germany and France, the data contain only turnover in passenger transport.